Final, 2-0 Ukraine: It’s all over in Cyprus, as Ukraine’s national team has given its country a reason to smile.
The 2-0 victory was thoroughly deserved, as Ukraine executed its game plan at a high level. Both goals came by way of the the counter-attack, and Ukraine could have scored a few more. Yarmolenko, who scored the opening goal, was the best player on the field. Devich ended a good spell of play for the Americans by scoring Ukraine’s second.
The U.S. will take few, if any, positives from this game. Johannsson continued his string of sharp performances and looked like he would have a decisive impact. That’s about it. The U.S. only threatened to score in the early part of the second half — its one stretch of sustained control of the game — and once or twice later on.
Klinsmann experimented with his defense, and the results were disastrous. Brooks may have played himself off the World Cup roster, having committed too many calamities in defense. Onyewu did not play with the assurance of a national-team veteran.
Altidore and Dempsey showed their rustiness in attack, while Johnson and Bedoya didn’t contribute much either.
As far as the Americans are concerned, the winners are the players — primarily based in MLS — who were not in Cyprus. Defenders Matt Besler and Omar Gonazalez can seperate themselves with a good performance against Mexico on April 2. Michael Bradley’s importance in midfield remains beyond doubt.
That’s all for now and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion that is on the way on NESN.com.
87th minute, 2-0 Ukraine: Johannsson volleys a corner kick straight toward the open goal, but it’s cleared off the line.
The young striker nearly got his team on the board with a fabulous strike.
85th minute, 2-0 Ukraine: Bezus and Demspey get tangled up in the midfielder and the two have a slight shoving match. The referee gives Bezus a yellow card.
Meanwhile, Agudelo replaces Altidore for the last few minutes of the game.
Altidore didn’t get much service against Ukraine and he failed to convert the one scoring chance he had. It shouldn’t affect his status on the World Cup squad, but he must show a better touch in front of goal in Brazil.
80th minute, 2-0 Ukraine: Williams comes on for Jones.
77th minute, 2-0 Ukraine: Brooks’ nightmare of a game continues, as he scuffs a header from the halfway line.
It falls right to Yarmolenko, who shoots from distance. After slipping, Howard has to dive left in order to make the save.
73rd minute, 2-0 Ukraine: Yarmolenko forces Howard into making another good save.
68th minute, 2-0 Ukraine: And just like that, Devich doubles Ukraine’s lead.
Ukraine caught the U.S. with too many players in the attacking zone, as Devich broke forward on the counter-attack.
Howard saved Devich’s first shot, but it rebounded back to the speedy attacker who tucked the second shot past the diving American goalkeeper.
65th minute, 1-0 Ukraine: Ukraine makes another change, putting Devich on for Zuzulya.
Meanwhile, Fedesky is cautioned for a hard foul on Shea.
63rd minute, 1-0 Ukraine: The blonde brigade is coming on for the U.S.
Johannsson and Shea have come on for Kljestan and Castillo.
54th minute, 1-0 Ukraine: Jones has hobbled toward the bench.
The midfielder has been battling a groin injury in recent months. This doesn’t look good.
50th minute, 1-0 Ukraine: Cameron finds Altidore with a cross near the spot, but the American striker heads over the bar.
Altidore is struggling at Sunderland this season. It seems like he may be low on confidence and sharpness, which is affecting him at international level as well.
49th minute, 1-0 Ukraine: The U.S. puts Ukraine under pressure and produces a geniune scoring chance.
Kljestan, Altidore and Dempsey made series of short passes at the top of the Ukraine area before Kljestan floated a ball toward the back post.
It came to Bedoya, who fired his shot on the volley from eight yards out. It took a deflection and went out of bounds.
46th minute, 1-0 Ukraine: Klinsmann didn’t make any changes at halftime. Perhaps he reminded his players of what is at stake during his halftime talk, leaving it up to them to show some improvement in the second half.
Roman Bezus replaced Garmash for Ukraine.
Halftime, 1-0 Ukraine: Ukraine has a deserved lead after the first 45 minutes.
The Americans looked like they would have a strong start to the game, but Yarmolenko’s goal was a preview of things to come.
Ukraine’s well-organized defense has thwarted everything the U.S. has thrown its way. More important has been Ukraine’s ability to break forward with numbers, which have threatened to overrun the U.S. defense on a number of occasions.
Klinsmann will be disappointed with his team’s inability to control the game in attack and maintain proper positioning on defense. Expect the U.S. to make a number of changes in the second half, as the first was simply not good enough.
32nd minute, 1-0 Ukraine: Ukraine should have gone up by two, as Kljestan lost the ball in the midfield, and Garmash beat the Americans’ offside trap.
Howard came off his line and cut down Garmash’s angle. Garmash then passed to a teammate, who was in an offside position.
30th minute, 1-0 Ukraine: The ever-dangerous Yarmolenko beats Castillo with speed and breaks down the right again.
Yarmolenko dragged his shot wide in front of Howards goal, but the threat he poses remains a real one. Castillo is having a tough time containing the highly rated Ukrainian winger.
26th minute, 1-0 Ukraine: The U.S. creates its first scoring chance, as Cameron finds room on the right and crosses into the area.
Kljestan was close to getting his head on the delivery, but goalkeeper Pyatov intercepted it.
25th minute, 1-0 Ukraine: The U.S. has reestablished control of the ball, but Ukraine is showing a great ability to drop deep, keep its shape and counter-attack with great speed and technique.
16th minute, 1-0 Ukraine: Ukraine looks dangerous again, as has what would have been a second goal ruled out for offside.
Ukraine has used its speedy wingers to open and stretch the U.S. with ease in recent minutes.
12th minute, 1-0 Ukraine: Ukraine takes advantage of a number of defensive miscues to take the early goal.
Brooks failed to track Garmash’s run, as he was slightly out of position, and could only watch as Konoplyanka floated a pass came over the top of the U.S. defense. Garmash took the first shot, which Howard saved, but the ball came back to him. He played it short to Yarmolenko, who tapped it in from close range.
Fifth minute, 0-0: The U.S. has shown more impetus in the early stages, controlling possession and switching the points of attack with what appears to be a high level of confidence.
Kickoff, 0-0: The national anthems have concluded, as has a moment of silence in honor of those who lost their lives in the recent upheavals in Ukraine.
The on-again, off-again saga that is this game has finally concluded. It’s finally under way at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium. Ukrainians are well represented in this sparse crowd.
Pregame: Here are the lineups:
Tim Howard, goalkeeper
Edgar Castillo, left back
John Brooks, center back
Oguchi Onyewu, center back
Geoff Cameron, right back
Jermaine Jones, midfielder
Sacha Kljestan, midfielder
Fabian Johnson, midfielder
Alejandro Bedoya, midfielder
Clint Dempsey, forward
Jozy Altidore, striker
Brad Guzan, goalkeeper
Jonathan Spector, defender
Will Packwood, defender
Danny Williams, midfielder
Alfredo Morales, midfielder
Brek Shea, midfielder
Juan Agudelo, forward
Terrance Boyd, striker
Aaron Johannsson, striker
Andriy Pyatov, goalkeeper
Olexandr Kucher, defender
Yaroslav Rakytskyi, defender
Yevhen Makarenko, defender
Artem Fedetskyi, defender
Rusian Rotan, midfielder
Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, midfielder
Andriy Yarmolenko, midfielder
Denys Garmash, midfielder
Yevhen Konoplyanka, midfielder
Roman Zozulya, striker
Onyewu could strengthen his late charge for a spot on the U.S. World Cup roster with a strong showing against Ukraine. The veteran defender returns to the starting 11 for the first time since last summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
#USMNT Lineup Notes: Gooch will get his first start since he captained the MNT during its 4-1 W over Cuba in the Gold Cup on July 13, 2013.—
U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) March 05, 2014
1:30 p.m. ET: An ongoing geopolitical crisis couldn’t stop this game from happening. Neither could a change of venue and a car bombing.
The U.S. men’s national soccer team is set to face Ukraine in an important exhibition game, which will take place in Larnaca, Cyprus, instead of Kharkiv, Ukraine, where the two teams were originally scheduled to play.
The U.S.-Ukraine game will give many American players their last chance to impress head coach Jurgen Klinsmann before he selects his squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) March 05, 2014
This game also gives Ukraine’s players and opportunity to provide their countrymen a brief respite from the troubles that are gripping their country, and project a spirit of unity to their beleaguered nation.
U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) March 05, 2014
The game kicks off at 2 p.m. ET. Stay right here, as we’ll bring you all the action as it happens.